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Getting Started with MVC 5 and

Visual Studio 2013

Thomas Robbins, Kentico CMS (

Slides will be available at:

What we will talk about

• This is an introductory session on MVC 5 and

VS 2013 is designed to get you going.
• We’ll look at the Why of MVC vs Web Forms 
• We’ll also look at some best practices and
things to think about
• Lots of other great sessions and information
A history lesson..

The Strength of ASP.NET Web Forms

ASP.NET Web Form • Making web development feel the same
• A set of UI components as Windows Form development
(pages, buttons etc.)
plus a stateful object • No need to work with individual HTTP
oriented GUI requests and easier to think in terms of a
programming model
stateful UI

• A way to host .NET
application in IIS that let’s
you interact with HTTP
requests and responses

• A multi-language managed
code platform
Some problems with ASP.NET Web Forms

• View state weight – Mechanism for maintaining

state (view state) results in large blocks of data
between client and server
• Page life cycle – Connecting client side events with
server side event handler code is complicated and
• False sense of separation – ASP.NET web Forms
code behind model provides a means to take
application code out of HTML markup.
Unfortunately, this allows for mix presentation
models (manipulating a server side tree)
• Limited control over HTML – Server side controls
render themselves as HTML but not always the
HTML you want
• Low testability – Nobody could have anticipated
that automated testing would become essential
Not all bad – ASP.NET Web Forms provide a quick results and allows reasonably complex
web applications to be built quickly!
What matters…

Code reusability Separation of concerns

• Shortens development • Improves code clarity and
• Code libraries organization
• Design patterns • Helps troubleshoot by
• Frameworks isolating issues
• Allows for multiple teams to
develop simultaneously
Say hello to MVC!
It’s a pattern

• Model: Handles data

and business logic
• View: Presents data to
the user using any
supported form and
• Controller: receives
user requests and calls
appropriate resources
to carry them out
What is MVC?

• Model represents the data model

– “Manages behavior and data of the
application domain”
• View represents the screen
shown to the user
– “Manages the graphical and/or
textual output to the portion of the
bitmapped display that is allocated
to the application”
• Controller represents interaction
from the user that changes the
data and the view
– “Interprets the mouse and
keyboard inputs from the user,
commanding the model and/or the
view to changes as appropriate”
MVC isn’t new!

• Presented by Trygve
Reenskaug in 1979
• First used in the
Smalltalk-80 framework
– Used in making Apple
interfaces (Lisa and
Step by Step
The Controller asks
the Model for data
The request hits the
2 Model

1 3
Controller The Model gives the data
r back to the Controller
The controller formats the
w data and passes them to the 4
s View View

The view renders the HTML

that needs to be sent to the
Example control flow in MVC

• User interacts with the View UI

• Controller handles the user input (often a
callback function attached to a UI element)
• Controller updates the Model
• View uses the model to generate new UI
• UI waits for user interaction
What’s the point?

• Provides a logical structure for heavily

interactive system
• Adheres to good engineering design principles
and practices
– Information hiding, less coupling, simplicity, etc.
– Delegated control style
Getting started with MVC 5
The project structure
• App_Data is the physical store for data. This folder
has the same role as it does in ASP.NET web sites
that use Web Form pages
• Content is the recommended location to add static
content files like CSS and images
• Controllers is the recommended location for
controllers. All controllers must end with
• Models is provided for classes that represent the
application model. This folder usually contains code
that defines objects and logic for application with
the data store
• Scripts is the recommended location for script files
that support the application. By default this folder
contains ASP.NET Ajax Foundation files and Jquery
• Views is the recommended location for views. These
are ViewPage (.aspx), ViewUserControl (.ascx) and
ViewMaster (.master) in additional to any other files
needed for renderings. The view folder also contains
a folder for each controller.
Everything has it’s advantages

MVC WebForms
• Easier to Manage • Preservers State over HTTP
Complexity • Page Controller Pattern
• Does not use view state or • View state or server based
server based forms forms
• Rich Routing Structure • Works well for small teams
• Support for Test-Driven • Development is less
Development complex
• Supports Large Teams Well
The beauty of MVC

It’s Restful!
MVC Routes

• A route is an object that

parses a requested URL and it
determines the controller
and action to which the
request is forwarded
• Routing operates on the
directories and the file name
of tin the relative URL
Uses the format
What’s the route

• Matching a URL request to a route depends on all

of the following conditions:
– The route patterns that you have defined or the
default route patterns, if any, that are included in your
project type.
– The order in which you added them to the Routes
– Any default values that you have provided for a route.
– Any constraints that you have provided for a route.
– Whether you have defined routing to handle requests
that match a physical file.
What is a model

• The model should contain

all of the application
business logic, validation
logic, and database access
• Supports a code first
model using the Entity
Framework (EF)
• All .edmx files, .dbml files
etc. should be located in
the Models folder.
Custom view model

• When you combine properties to display on a


Similar problem with ASP.NET Webforms…

What is a View

 Most of the Controller Actions return views

 The path to the view is inferred from the name of the controller
and the name of the controller action.
 \Views\ControllerName\ControllerAction.aspx
 A view is a standard (X)HTML document that can contain scripts.
 script delimiters <% and %> in the views
Passing data to a view

 With ViewData:
 ViewData["message"] = "Hello World!";
 Strongly typed ViewData:
 ViewData.Model = OurModel;
 With ViewBag:

 ViewBag.Message = "Hello World!";

Post data to a controller

• Verb Attributes
• The action method in the controller accepts the values
posted from the view.
• The view form fields must match the same names in the
public ActionResult Edit(Meeting meeting)
if (ModelState.IsValid)
db.Entry(movie).State = EntityState.Modified;
return RedirectToAction("Index");
return View(meeting);
What is a controller
• It’s a class derived from
System.Web.MVC.Controller class
• Generate the response to the browser request
public class HomeController : Controller
public ActionResult Index()
ViewBag.Message = "Welcome to ASP.NET MVC!";

return View();
public ActionResult About()
return View();
Controller actions
 Public method of the Controller class
 Cannot be overloaded
 Cannot be a static method
 Returns action result
public class HomeController : Controller
public ActionResult Index()
ViewBag.Message = "Welcome to ASP.NET MVC!";

return View();
public ActionResult About()
return View();
Other Features

• Scaffolding
• Test Driven Development
• Internationalization
• Many More
MVC Best Practices
MVC best practice #1

Delete AccountController.cs

• You will probably never use these account
management pages
• Keeping demo code in production
application is not a good practice
MVC best practice #2

• Isolate controller from the external world

– HTTPContext
– Data access classes
– Configuration management
– Logging
– Etc..

• Increases testability of your application
• Increases flexibility of your application
View best practice #3

Avoid “magic strings”

A magic string is an input that a programmer believes will never come externally and
which activates hidden functionality. A user would likely provide input that gives
unexpected responses in most situations. However, if the user innocently provides a pre-
defined input, invoking external functionality, the program response is unexpected (“it’s

What should you do

• Avoid using ViewData[“key”]
• Always create a ViewModel for each View and inherit from
MVC best practice #4

Get creative and personalize your experience

What should you do

• ASP.NET MVC is the base on which to build your own reference architecture
• Controllers and views inherit from your own base class
• Always create a ViewModel for each View and inherit from
MVC best practice #5
Choose your view engine carefully
What’s a view engine?
A view engine is responsible for rendering HTML from your views to the browser.
• Default is WebFormViewEngine and may not be the best
• Choose the one that makes the most sense for you
View Engine Description
Razor The Razor view engine is an advanced view engine from Microsoft. Razor using
an @ character instead of aspx's <% %> and Razor does not require you to
explicitly close the code-block, this view engine is parsed intelligently by the
run-time to determine what is a presentation element and what is a code
ASPX The syntax for writing views with this engine is the same syntax that the ASP.NET
Web Forms uses and the file extensions are also taken from ASP.NET Web Form
(.aspx, .ascx, .master) . The coding will give us the memory of legacy ASP style.

And many more….

MVC best practice #6

Avoid logic in your views

What can you do
• While it is allowed to have “if” and “For Each” when possible hide them in an

• Represents support for rendering HTML controls in a view

• Just a string that returns a string that can represent any type of
content that you want
• MVC Framework includes standard HTML helpers
• HTML.ActionLink() • HTML.TextArea
• HTML.BeginForm() • HTML.TextBox
• HTML.Checkbox()
• HTML.Dropdown()
• HTML.EndForm
• HTML.Hidden
• HTML.ListBox
• HTML.Password()
• HTML.RadioButton
MVC Best Practice #7

When an ASP.NET MVC Web application runs in IIS 7.0, no file name
extension is required for MVC projects. However, in IIS 6.0, the
handler requires that you map the .mvc file name extension to the
MVC best practice #8
Pay attention to verbs
What happens when you refresh or submit a form?

Leverage the Post/Redirect/Get (PRG) Patter

• View sends data in POST
• Modify data in POST
• Controller validates
• Renders the View with errors (POST)
• Redirect in GET
• View renders the results in GET
• Show data in GET
Wrap up…

• MVC is not the only

solution but
becoming increasingly
the answer
• VS 2013 has MVC 5
ready to go
Who are we?

Kentico CMS is one of the

most powerful Customer
Experience Management
Systems and Content
Management Systems on
the planet. With over
16,000 web sites in 90
countries it is used for
everything from simple web
sites to complex

Kentico CMS is easy to

install, simple to manage
and reliable.